Genre: Disaster Action
Running Time: 114 mins.
Premise: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a rescue-chopper pilot who ditches work in the middle of a record-breaking earthquake in California and risks life and limb to save his family. And only his family.
Behind-the-Scenes: Johnson and director Brad Peyton previously worked together on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Johnson also re-teams with Carla Gugino (who plays his wife here) for their third film together (Faster and Race to Witch Mountain are the other two). Lost's Carlton Cuse wrote the screenplay.
The Good: San Andreas knows exactly what it is: an old-school, cheesy disaster epic, and it embraces all the conventions of the genre, going about its business in a brisk, no-nonsense fashion. The visual effects of the earthquake's carnage are strong, which is really the most important part. Johnson is, as always, an engaging screen presence and you can't help but root for his character. For the first hour, as dumb as it is, the movie really clicks. The pacing is good, and it delivers the proverbial disaster movie goods.
The Bad: After the one-hour mark, you've already seen all the tricks it has to offer. The cliches and stupid coincidences start piling up, and the movie grows tiresome and ridiculous. Paul Giamatti is wasted as the earthquake expert prone to spouting exposition in large doses. Johnson's daughter (played by Alexandra Daddario) is saddled with two nitwit Brit kids for most of the movie, and they get into one eye-rolling mess after another. Johnson never punches the earthquake in the face.
Should You See It?: Nah. But, if you've already seen Mad Max: Fury Road, and are just looking for an excuse to sit in the dark and watch a bunch of on-screen destruction, you could do worse.
Star Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars.
Better Than: The Day After Tomorrow, 2012
Worse Than: Independence Day, Twister
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